New playroom

One requirement I had when looking at houses was a big space for the girls playroom. Our previous home had a great fourth bedroom that we used for their playroom and I knew, based on the amount of stuff they have and how often they used the room, that our new house must have a big space for the girls to play.

When I saw the fourth bedroom in our new home, I immediately marked it the playroom. It was a big, open space with lots of light, wood flooring and a bench seat that ran along almost the entire back wall. It has a fireplace, which I love but may be an accident waiting to happen (so far we’ve had no injuries), BUT with a fireplace comes a mantle and so much design potential. I can’t wait to hang Christmas garland there!

My husband really, really wanted to use this space as a media room but I had to remind him, we hardly ever watch movies and where would all the girls toys go? In the end, it became the new playroom and I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out. I still plan to order a castle shaped mirror to go under the princess gallery wall but other than that, the room is done. It’s such a beautiful, bright, happy space!



Sophie Gray’s birthday interview – three years old

My sweet second baby turned three on December 23, 2013. She truly is the sweetest thing. Because of how close her birthday is to Christmas, my husband really wanted to do something special and we took her to Disneyland on her birthday. It was a whirlwind trip but she had the best time and is already asking to go back.

Happy 3 Sophie!


Sophie Gray, Age 3

Nickname Soph

How old are you? 3 years old

What is your favorite color? Orange

What is your favorite animal? Giraffe

What is your favorite book? Muddle & Match Mermaid

What is your favorite TV show? Bubble Guppies

What is your favorite movie? Shrek

What is your favorite song? Chillin like a Villian from Descendants 2

What is your favorite food? French toast sticks

What is your favorite drink? Lemonade

What is your favorite breakfast food? Pancakes

What is your favorite snack? PB&J

What is your favorite outfit? Flower dress

What is your favorite game? Mario Party 8

What is your favorite toy? Corn Monkey and Corn Lion

Who is your best friend? Annabelle & Stella

What is your favorite thing to do? Play at the park

What is your favorite thing to do outside? Play with toys

What is your favorite holiday? Halloween

What do you like to take to bed with you at night? Corn Monkey and Corn Lion

Where is your favorite place to go? Disneyland

What is your favorite restaurant? Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville in Hollywood, FL

Where do you want to go on vacation? Mexico

What do you want to be when you grow up? Grown-up girl

What did you do on your birthday? We went to Disneyland!



Lyla Rae’s birthday interview – eight years old

How can it be that my last post was a birthday interview a year ago? I really need to get better about blogging more than once a year, lol. But here we are again, conducting Lyla’s annual birthday interview. At least I’m doing it sooner two months after her birthday.

Lyla turned eight on August 10, 2017. It was a busy day because both girls had back-to-school night so our family party was a little rushed. We had a pool party for Lyla and her friends the next day. It was emoji-themed and so much fun.

Happy 8!


Lyla Rae, Age 8

Nicknames Pies

How old are you? 8 years old

What is your favorite color? Mint green

What is your favorite animal? Unicorn

What is your favorite book? Rainbow Fairy chapter books

What is your favorite TV show? Cake Wars

What is your favorite movie? Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children

What is your favorite song? Despacito by Daddy Yankee & Justin Beiber

What is your favorite food? Cheeseburgers

What is your favorite drink? Root beer

What is your favorite breakfast food? French toast sticks

What is your favorite snack? Fruit snacks

What is your favorite outfit? Dresses & Jojo bows

What is your favorite game? The Game of Life

What is your favorite toy? Nintendo 3DS

Who is your best friend? Stefanie Valle

What is your favorite thing to do? Play my DS and look at my iPad

What is your favorite thing to do outside? Swim in the pool

What is your favorite holiday? Christmas

What do you like to take to bed with you at night? Polar Bear

Where is your favorite place to go? Jupiter, FL (Grandma and Grandpa’s house)

What is your favorite restaurant? Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville in Hollywood, FL

Where do you want to go on vacation? China

What do you want to be when you grow up? Pastry chef

What did you do on your birthday? Opened small gifts, went to Dunkin Donuts for breakfast, gave out cookies to my class as a treat, had a small party at home with Mom, Dad and Sophie then had a emoji-themed pool party with friends the next day.



Halloween 2015

We had quite the Halloween this year. Lyla got to wear her costume five days in a row! I know this was fun and exciting for her but quite a bit of work for mom – hello hair curling, hair color, glitter spray and full makeup five different times! But I’ll do anything for my baby. Our week started on Tuesday night when Lyla’s dance studio held a studio-wide costume contest. Lyla was so excited to wear her costume “officially” for the first time and she was determined to win the contest. She went as a Shopkin this year, the limited edition Cupcake Queen.


On Wednesday, we headed to the Bass Pro Shop. We live about 20 minutes away and I have to say, I’m always very impressed with their special holiday events. The store is always beautifully decorated for each holiday, they offer one free 4×6 picture and have free crafts for the kids, I mean, how can you beat that?

Before moving to Tracy, I had never even been to a Bass Pro Shop. We went for the first time during Christmas last year and again for Easter. The girls love the store, its huge and there’s so much to see. They have a big fish tank and waterfall, a fun country store, its really neat but I have learned a few tips if you plan to go for a holiday event. Arrive EARLY! At least an hour early. We skipped the picture with Santa on our first visit because the line was out the door and this is a BIG store. For Easter, we came about 30 minutes early and were maybe 20th in line. For Halloween this year, we got to the store an hour before and were the first in line for pictures, the first! We got some popcorn, fudge and a drink from the country store, trust me, a little snack makes all the difference when waiting in line with children. They had the cutest set-up for Halloween and offered one free picture with characters from the Peanuts gang. Such a fun outing!





On Thursday, Lyla’s Girl Scout troop had their Halloween party. She had a blast with her friends.


Friday was the big Halloween celebration at school. She walked in the Halloween parade and showed off her costume to the entire school.

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The parade ends in the large field behind her school. All of the students (K-8) form a very large square. The school brings in a DJ and the kids get to watch the 8th graders perform to Thriller. It’s a really fun time. Afterwards, we spent the day in her classroom for her class Halloween party. It was a fun, but long day.

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On Friday afternoon/night, we did an easy Halloween craft (pumpkin magnets), carved pumpkins, made Halloween Rice Krispie treats, ate Jack-o-Lantern pizza from Papa Murphy’s and watched Hocus Pocus. That movie is one of my all time favorite Halloween movies and was worried about Lyla being too young to watch it and getting scared but she ended up loving it. It was a busy, exhausting but very fulfilling day.




On Saturday, we had a very, yummy, festive Halloween morning breakfast. I used this amazing mix from William Sonoma and added orange food coloring and chocolate chips to make Jack-o-Lantern pancakes. A hit all around except that I forgot to pick-up syrup while at the grocery store and we only had enough for the girls pancakes…. wah, wah, wah. I put butter and cinnamon on mine and it was still good. Just had to work with what we had.


We spent the rest of the day just being lazy and lounging around the house. I wanted to get ready in time to take some pictures outside but I underestimated how long it would take all of us to get ready and by the time we were, the sun had gone down – momFAIL! The lighting definitely wasn’t as good inside the house but at least we got our pictures. Only one kid smiling but you can’t win em’ all. I went as a baker and my girls were my two little cupcakes, my sweetest creations 😉



We met up with some friends in our neighborhood and were ready to trick-or-treat! Because it rained last year, this was Sophie’s first experience trick-or-treating door-to-door. It didn’t take her long to figure out how to get the candy. We had such a fun time and Lyla filled her basket pretty quickly. It was a successful Halloween!

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Throwback Thursday – Halloween 2014

With Halloween quickly approaching (this Saturday! ekkk!), I thought it would be fun to look back at last year’s festivities. Halloween has become Lyla’s favorite holiday (that is until Christmas arrives) so I do my best and try to make it really special for her. Halloween fell on a Friday last year, so I surprised her with a Halloween themed breakfast, a balloon, card, and a fun, little message on the chalkboard.



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We had been watching the forecast like crazy because it had been raining on and off earlier in the week and rain was scheduled for that day but thankfully it held off and we were able to enjoy the festivities at Lyla’s school.

Here’s my girl dressed as Kiera from the Barbie movie, Princess and the Pop Star. The picture does not do her dress justice, it was absolutely beautiful! We ordered it from Etsy and fell in love. Not only did it look exactly like Kiera’s dress, the quality just blew me away. It was so well-made and she’s worn it many times since Halloween. I thought she looked awesome and so much like Kiera. She loved getting into character and singing and dancing along to the movie.


PicMonkey Collage

Lyla’s school does a Halloween parade and then everyone watches the eighth graders (her school is K-8) perform Thriller. I have to say, it was such a fun day. She had a class party afterwards, which I helped plan and organize, and it was just great. I’m so sad I didn’t take more pictures. It was a busy, hectic day and I barely had time to pull out my phone or camera. Normally, I’m snapping away like crazy, especially since it was Sophie’s first Halloween but between the parade and the party, I just wasn’t able to.

We ended up at the mall that evening because the rain came back with a vengeance. Here’s my little cat Sophie at the mall play area. Again, I’m so sad I don’t have more pictures of her. She wore Lyla’s old Pottery Barn Kids cat costume and looked just adorable.

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I love to do family costumes so Sophie was the Figaro to my Minnie (again so sad we didn’t take more pictures). The mall has an inflatable indoor play area and they were letting the first 50 kids jump and eat for free. We got lucky and happened to be at the right place at the right time. We met Lyla’s best friend and her family there and the kids had a great time. I think this made up for not being able to go Trick-or-Treating outside. Lyla was so tired by the time we got home, she didn’t even want to go to one house. In my book, that makes for a successful Halloween.



Saturday in Lodi

This past weekend we had no plans and nothing on the calendar so we decided to make Saturday a family fun day. We knew we wanted to do something fun with the girls and have dinner out so I suggested we head to Lodi.

I first visited the town back in July when I took the girls to the Micke Grove Zoo. I’d heard such great things about it from friends and the girls and I ended up loving it. Yes, it is a very small zoo and there are no giraffes, elephants or lions BUT it’s perfect for my girls. It’s small enough to get around easily and there is enough to look at. It keeps the girls entertained but not overwhelmed and that is a win in my book. Sophie actually remembered her favorite animals from the first time we were there. It was a beautiful day, not too hot and my hubby was able to get some great pictures.

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After the zoo, we stopped at a park and let the girls play in the water fountains and on the swings and slides. After drying off and changing, we headed into downtown Lodi for an early dinner. When the girls and I were there in July, we drove through the downtown area but did not stop and I knew next time we were here, we had to stop downtown. I adore town’s that have a downtown area with shops, restaurants, etc. and Lodi’s downtown looked just adorable. I did a bit of research on restaurants beforehand and we decided to eat at the Lodi Beer Company. It was such a cute place! We ended up eating outside because it seemed a little loud inside but the interior was done really well. All brick and exposed walls, I loved how it looked. My hubby thought it was funny that Lyla and I were dying over how nice the bathrooms are but, hey, you gotta appreciate a nice, clean, well-decorated bathroom at a restaurant. The food and beer were great and the prices were very reasonable. We’ll definitely be back.

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Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween! We are beyond excited over here and ready to start one of our very favorite holidays. I love looking back at old pictures of Halloweens past. We love to dress-up and of course Lyla adores this holiday. This is her first year celebrating it as a Kindergartner and her school has some really fun activities planned for today. Here is a look back at Halloween…

Pre-baby – October 2008

I got pregnant with Lyla in November so this was our last hurrah as non-parents out on the town for Halloween or at a house party. We went as Princess and Mario and had so much fun.


1st Halloween – October 2008

Lyla was only three months old for her first Halloween and, of course, she had to go as a our little pumpkin!

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2nd Halloween – October 2010

Pottery Barn Kids had the cutest cat costume and I couldn’t resist! We are actually reusing the costume for Sophie this year. I can’t wait to take pictures of her tonight and compare them to Lyla. We had a blast visiting my work at the time for a party.

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3rd Halloween – October 2011

Lyla went through an obsession with the Monsters Inc. movie so when she saw this costume in the Pottery Barn Kids catalog, she had to have it. She called herself, Wazowski, as in Mike Wazowski and wanted John to go as Sully and myself to go as Boo, and how could we say no to her? This year was especially fun, I loved that we coordinated as a family. And I have to give myself a little shout-out on the bangs. I did not have bangs at the time and I watched a YouTube video on how to make fake bangs and I was really impressed at how they came out.

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4th Halloween – October 2012

This year Lyla was obsessed with Jake and the Never Land Pirates on the Disney Channel so she went as Izzy. John and I didn’t really dress-up this year. I reused my ears from a couple years prior and went as a cat.


5th Halloween – October 2013

I was thrilled to pieces with Lyla’s Halloween costume choice last year. She saw this in the Chasing Fireflies catalog and after a few weeks of going back and forth, she decided on the Fab 50’s girl costume. John and I coordinated with her and I loved out it turned out. These costumes were super fun to wear and I think Lyla just looked fabulous, Fabulous 50’s! I was pregnant with Sophie at the time (due in December) so this costumer worked well with my pregnant belly.

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I can’t wait to post a weekend recap to share what we all went as this year. It’s also Sophie’s first Halloween so it makes this holiday extra special – Happy Halloween!